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France COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 10,000; Millions Of Americans Filing For Unemployment Claims; Study Shows Pregnant Women Do Not Get More Severe Illness With Coronavirus. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired April 8, 2020 - 05:30   ET




So, in France, the coronavirus death toll has now reached 10,000 people. The government says more than nearly 1 1/2 thousand people died on Tuesday, the single-largest day increase so far. And as you can see, the trend has certainly been climbing over the past few days, to put it mildly. The director of public health says the peak is yet to come.

Cyril Vanier is in Normandy, France with more on all of this. Hi, Cyril.


France is in the eye of the storm right now. About a week ago, we saw the highest daily increase in the number of coronavirus cases. Just yesterday, we had the announcement that we've seen the highest daily increase in deaths.

And the government wants to ramp up its mitigation in social distancing measures. So not only is there no talk of ending the confinement, as it's called here, but it's got to actually get tighter. And that is why you're seeing cities and towns across France tighten their own individual measures, starting with the capital -- starting with Paris.

As of today, between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., you're no longer to go -- allowed to go out and exercise, which is a break from what was allowed before -- people could go out jogging. But simply, authorities saw that there were too many people out and about, so that is no longer possible.

In some towns in the north of France, if you spit in the street or if you abandon your mask or your gloves or even if you fail to cover your mouth as you cough, you could be fined. In the south of France, masks have now become mandatory in the city of Nice, also in Beziers.


So you see that all of France is trying to tighten their measures because the French health system has not been under such great stress since the Second World War. This is a system that was built for -- to threat 5,000 people in intensive care and is currently having to deal with more than 7,000, Robyn.

CURNOW: OK, thanks for that update, Cyril Vanier.

So, millions of jobless Americans are now filing for unemployment as the pandemic forces businesses to lay off or furlough workers, and many state's governments are struggling to keep up. You know that -- many of you are involved in this.

In Florida, for example, people are being told to use paper applications as overwhelmed computer systems struggle to keep up with the crush of claims. And despite social distancing guidelines, people still standing in line queuing to pick up these blank forms, as you can see from these images.

Some states say unemployment claims right now are running 25 times higher than usual.

Christine Romans joins us now from New York. Christine, hi, good to see you. Wow, just those images -- those long lines tell us so much about unemployment claims.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, EARLY START: You know, and the unemployment office, ironically, is hiring because they have got to handle this huge flood of demand. And you're hearing about states that are hiring back retirees. They're hiring tech companies to help them upgrade their servers and upgrade their software.

And in Florida -- in that case, in particular -- they're actually sending out paper applications because the governor of that state has, you know, basically authorized the state to do whatever it takes to get the money into the hands of all those people.

In North Carolina, the governor there said that they have had 400,000 jobless claim applications. On a typical week, usually, you see about 3,000 -- so just imagine.

Now, a lot of these people will get retroactive pay once this is all worked out. And there's something called enhanced unemployment benefits -- really important here. That means the federal government is going to pay about $600 extra on top of what the state government will pay for you jobless benefits, and this will go on for about four months.

So once it all gets worked out, hopefully, there will be relief for people. But in the meantime, it has just been really, really difficult just structurally to get the jobless claims system to be able to handle what is a real crisis in the jobs market.

CURNOW: It certainly is, and you talk about those retroactive payments but folks need money now. They need to buy food now or pay their mortgage now.

But there's also people who are running these small businesses -- ROMANS: Yes.

CURNOW: -- and there's been a lot of loan glitches, hasn't there?

ROMANS: Now, that's another really big important piece of the Main Street bailout -- a record historic Main Street bailout -- $350 billion for companies -- small companies -- small and medium-sized companies.

And the SBA, the Small Business Administration, says there's been some 220,000 loans that have -- that have been approved for some $66 billion. So if you do the math and there's still so many small business owners who haven't been connected with a loan, that big pot of money, when it's finally dispersed, will run out pretty quickly here. So already, you've got Congress talking about more -- more money for small business owners.

But in the meantime, again, technology is a problem here. You've got so many people who are -- who are rushing to try to get this money. Lenders, who are a little bit unsure of some of the rules, and the rules have been changing a little bit. So I think you've seen some real rocky, rocky few days here for getting that money into the hands of small business owners, but I think more money is coming.

So it's the same story. The money is there. The promise is there, Robyn. It's just getting it into the hands of people that has been really frustrating.

CURNOW: Yes, it really is desperate times, indeed.

Christine Romans in New York. Thank you.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

CURNOW: You, too.

So, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, pregnant during a pandemic. A new study is telling us more about how pregnant women experience the coronavirus. What it means for their bodies and their babies, that's next.



CURNOW: So, a little bit of good news here. A new study is telling us more about how coronavirus affects pregnant women.

And what we're finding is that researchers found that women do not appear to be passing the infection on to their babies -- that's great news. They also don't experience a more severe version of the virus than the average person. There's no differences there.

We also know that eight percent of women from the survey got a mild form of the virus. Only two of the 43 women in this study experienced what they called a critical disease. Well, let's go to consultant obstetrician Dr. Jo Mountfield. She's the vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and she joins me now.

Thank you, Doctor, because I want to talk about this study. What more can you tell us and how can -- how can you unpack it for us?

DR. JO MOUNTFIELD, CONSULTANT OBSTETRICIAN, VICE PRESIDENT, ROYAL COLLEGE OF OBSTETRICIANS AND GYNECOLOGY: Well, I think what's reassuring about this study is it confirms the information that we've had from the -- from around the world that it does look really hopeful that pregnant women are not at increased risk of either catching coronavirus compared to the general population if they're otherwise fit and well.

And once they get the virus -- and inevitably, some pregnant women will catch the virus -- that actually, they do not seem to be at increased risk of the severe end of the disease. And that was a concern when -- as pandemic started because we know that with other respiratory viruses -- things like flu -- pregnant women have been more susceptible and have been more unwell with those sorts of conditions.

But it looks like at the moment the evidence that we're collecting -- and it would suggest to you that it's still early days and we do still have to keep very much collecting all this evidence to confirm, but the information that we've got at the moment in the cases that we know about does suggest exactly as you say, that there's a small proportion of women that are going to have the severe end of the problem and the vast majority of women who catch the virus will have a mild or moderate illness rather than being severely unwell.

CURNOW: And I know that you say this is -- it's still early days, but do we know if this data comes from women who were studied in late pregnancy? You know, there's a difference perhaps in the first trimester? Is there some sort of --


CURNOW: -- clarification on where are, though?

MOUNTFIELD: You haven't got -- we haven't -- and the data -- you know, the data is very incomplete at the moment and that's not surprising given what's going on across the world, basically. So the data from the American study was of women that were screened as they came into a maternity unit.

But we are -- and, you know, it is difficult because each country -- each country and each state, I believe from your perspective, are doing things slightly differently. And so we won't be screening every single pregnant woman. We won't be screening every woman who is in early pregnancy because that's just not feasible.

So we have to look at what the outcomes of some of the pregnancies are on where we've got the data and try to interpret that. It is still early days. And I think -- I want to be really reassuring about early pregnancy, that the data from China that we have had from them is they haven't seen an increased risk in terms of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities -- so, a problem with the baby if you get this virus. So that is reassuring, basically.

(Audio gap)


CURNOW: It really -- it really is, Doctor.

I do want to ask you, though, about women who are at 39 weeks, 40 weeks, 41 weeks.


CURNOW: They're having to go into hospital maybe needing a cesarean section. What are the protocols that you're advising? Obviously, a lot of people saying don't come in with too many people. But then, there's also the anxiety issue around this, going into hospitals that are so overwhelmed.

MOUNTFIELD: Yes. So, I think that is a real worry for women that actually, there's not going to be anybody there to look after them. And I certainly know from our own experience in the U.K. that we're doing absolutely everything that's possible to maintain a really safe and secure maternity service. And that's really important and I'm absolutely certain that will be going on in other parts of the world as well.

And in our own country, actually, we have -- we are still allowing a birth partner to come into units because we absolutely recognize that having support in labor is really crucial for women across the world and we want to try and facilitate that as much as possible.

But we are stopping other visitors, both for antenatal and postnatal visiting in the majority of cases because we need to try and reduce the chances of transmission. So I think different for labor and birth than it is for antenatal and postnatal visiting and appointments.

CURNOW: Yes, and I know there have been a lot of warnings -- you know, grannies and grandparents, try and not go and visit in those early weeks now which, of course, is difficult because nannies, doulas, visiting nurses -- many of the support systems around new mothers are breaking down. So, certainly challenging days for many women out there.

On another note -- perhaps on a positive note, are you expecting a baby boom in nine months' time? I know that we've already had twins in India called Covid and Corona. Do you think there's a likelihood that you're going to see a bit of a baby boom in nine months?

MOUNTFIELD: I suspect that may be the case as people have been confined to their homes. Obviously, there is good contraceptive advice out there for those women that do not wish to have a baby at this time. But, yes, that is something that we've seen before and I suspect we are going to see again. But, you know, as long as it's a planned and wanted baby, that's a really marvelous thing in the world.

CURNOW: It is, indeed.

And thank you very much, Dr. Jo Mountfield, to you. And all of the staff who are helping women across the world, thanks a lot as well. Have a lovely day.


CURNOW: So, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come, most major sports are shut down due to the coronavirus, but a few top leagues are planning a different kind of comeback. We'll have the details after this short break.




JOHN PRINE, SINGER-SONGWRITER: Singing "Angel From Montgomery."


CURNOW: That is John Prine performing there just a couple of years ago on "AUSTIN CITY LIMITS." He died on Tuesday in Nashville, his publicist says, due to complications from coronavirus.

He's widely regarded as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation and a favorite. You could hear the Bob Dylan influence there, and Bruce Springsteen.

John Prine was 73 years old.

And many sports fans are itching for the games to return after most professional leagues called off events due to the pandemic for good reason. Well, now one sport is warming up plans to get back out on the field as Tom Foreman now reports on the proposal from Major League Baseball.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A computer helping call the balls and strikes to keep umpires at a distance. No consultations on the pitching mound. Players not in crowded dugouts, but spread out in the empty stands. And every team, every game in Arizona.

That's how it may look if Major League Baseball says play ball next month, according to multiple reports, fulfilling President Trump's repeated call for a fast return of pro sports.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the fans want to be back, too, you know. They want to see basketball, and baseball, and football, and hockey. They want to see their sports. FOREMAN (voice-over): Baseball's official stance remains unchanged.

ROB MANFRED, COMMISSIONER, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: We're going to resume playing when it's safe for our fans, our players, and the public for us to resume playing.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The plan under discussion would attempt to create a safe zone with teams operating in isolation for months amid rigorous virus testing at their hotels, on buses, in stadiums closed to all fans. Still, it's a stark contrast to health officials warning against any contact with others.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Other pro sports are nibbling at resuming with similar plans to limit exposure, but only tentatively.

Basketball commissioner Adam Silver.

ADAM SILVER, COMMISSIONER, NBA: At least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions, and I don't think that necessarily means on May first we will be.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Hockey's Stanley Cup Playoffs should have started this week. Instead, ideas are being floated for returning to the ice maybe this summer in North Dakota. Those seem barely more than rumors. The league is saying little.

And the biggest game around, football. The NFL's draft is this month with teams planning virtual parties to celebrate. In a conference call with sports officials days ago, the president said he hopes the league can kick off on time in September, but many state and local officials are questioning all this talk of sports coming back soon.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): That's not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.

FOREMAN (on camera): With billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake, of course, everybody would like to see sports up and running again. But for now, the teams and towns that host them seem to be saying they will let health officials, not politicians, make that call.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Bethesda, Maryland.


CURNOW: Well, let's hope so. Thanks to Tom for that.

And as other sports grapple with the coronavirus, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship says he's come up with a way to keep his mixed martial arts league going. Dana White says he plans to secure a private island to host upcoming

fights, secluded from the pandemic. His plan calls for fighters to meet in one place where they'll be tested for coronavirus before private planes would fly them to an undisclosed island. Even the fighters won't know where they're headed.


White said this could allow fans to watch fights online as soon as April 18th.

OK, so, thanks for your company. This has been the show. Let's help our medical workers by staying home and staying safe. Have a beautiful day.

I'm Robyn Curnow. "NEW DAY" is next. You're watching CNN.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: We're projecting that we are reaching a plateau from the total number of hospitalizations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the past couple of days, discharging more patients than we are admitting.

NEWSOM: That's not to suggest that we'll continue to see these declines. It's to only reinforce the importance of maintaining physical distancing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have patients here ranging in age from 31 to in the 80s and we're working hard to save them.

DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I and many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID-19.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a really significant manifestation of these longstanding structural inequalities.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, April eighth, 6:00 here in New York.

This morning, we try to see where the coronavirus hits next in the United States. As New York City grapples with its highest number of deaths yet, there are some signs.